Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fandom Classics Part 66: On The Importance Of Spelling

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Man, what do you want from me?  I have enough trouble coming up with something witty to say on a regular post; one I'm writing two weeks in advance?  Forget it.  Just go enjoy my review of Softly8088's On The Importance Of Spelling.

Impressions before reading:  Well personally, I'd have left "the" and "of" uncapitalized in the title, but that's not really a relevant impression.  The description doesn't actually give me much to go on, and "Cadence-based romantic comedy" neither sounds like something amazing, nor something to avoid like the plague (granted, it sounds like something I wouldn't normally check out on my own, but that's not the same as saying I think it's likely to be bad).  All in all, I guess I don't have much of an "impression before reading."

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  On Princess Mi Amore's birthday, her husband discovers that he hasn't been spelling her name right.  Sorta.  It's complicated.

Thoughts after reading:  The thing that most impressed me about this story coming out was the way it showed Cadence (that's my spelling, and I'm sticking to it) and Shining's marriage; the author does a nice job of showing how they interact, and their banter is comfortable without being boring.  Moreover, the plot kickoff felt genuine to me--nonverbal cues are a nicely realistic but still funny device to use.

That said, it took a while to get to that kickoff, and much of what preceded it was... not irrelevant, really, but a bit dull.  The thing is, the humor doesn't really start up until then either, so the first quarter or so of the story is romantic banter and exposition devoid of obvious import.  It's not poorly written for that, but it feels overlong--the bane of comedies and short stories alike.

Once it got past that, though, the remainder of the story was smooth sailing.  The humor here is mild--more an accent than a raison d'etre--but it served its purpose well, and the plot holds up perfectly well without a lot of belly laughs.  The conversation mostly deals with names, and it wanders from goofy spelling jokes to peaceable musings on who really gets to decide what someone's name is.  The rambling conversation, to reiterate what I said above, nicely mirrored an actual conversation, without ever wandering too far down a dull tangent and becoming uninteresting.

There are a few writing shortfalls, however.  While editing is good, a lot of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome issues pop up, to the point where even I noticed them (I'm usually pretty forgiving of descriptions in place of names, but tagging dialogue with "his simpering wife" and the like on a regular basis gets pretty noticeable after a while), and there are a few simply poor phrasing decisions (Shining dropping an f-bomb out of nowhere near the end of the fic proved a major distraction to me).  Likewise, the romantic bits tend toward overwritten.  This isn't a poorly written fic, all things considered, but the problems present to distract.

Star rating:

There's a very sweet, slightly silly, and above all cute story here.  It's occasionally marred by textual issues and slowness, but not so much that it can't be enjoyed on its own merits.

Recommendation:  This is a good ones for fans of syrup who aren't put off by a bit of sappy.  Those sensitive to writing might take issue (and that f-bomb really did throw me, given the nature of the story to that point), however.

Next time:  The Longest Night, by Tundara


  1. Prediction for "The Longest Night": 2/5 for telling instead of showing, among other novice mistakes.

    "It was an almost unknown fact that an Alicorn could shed tears in sadness but once in a hundred years. There was a hollow ache deep in her heart that nothing could ever fill so long as her beloved Luna was gone."
    "Celestia's old sword, Coronal Edge."
    "Between the two, it had become a night Celestia knew she would never forget, and she wished would never end."
    "she finished the last of her wine then crushed the goblet, as was tradition, and hurled the remains over her shoulder with a cry of 'Another!'"
    "Those three simple words broke the dam, sending crystal tears down Celestia's cheeks to patter onto the cushions."

    This could have been pretty good as a straight comedy.

  2. It reminded me a lot of Skywriter's excellent "A Princes by Any Other Name" with a more personal warm-fuzzy of two young ponies in love. I can sympathize with the LUS that is caused when two characters interact for a period of time, because I drift that way too. A very nice read that I was happy to put in my Favorites list, and that I recognized on sight when you listed it in the review, which is always a good indication that I liked reading it.

  3. I just re-read and enjoyed this one.

    The exposition was fine to me. Quite funny even, due to the implications that arise from omission. (Don't tell me you didn't get that. It's sort of sounding like you didn't). It's been done a thousand times before, sure, but I still found it enjoyable.
    Also, apparently my enjoyment of this story kept me from noticing any flaws in the writing. How unusual for me. Anyway...

    "This is a good ones for fans of syrup who aren't put off by a bit of sappy."
    Gotta give you kudos for that turn of phrase.

    Word of the Day: Raison d'etre.

  4. This author's name should be Softy8088, not Softly.

  5. Oh hey, I'm a sucker for Shining x Cadance (that's my spelling and I'm sticking to it) happyfics, so I enjoyed this one. I also am quite fond of the cover art.

    ~Super Trampoline